Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

School of Environment

Sub-Department

Earth and Environmental Resources Management

First Advisor

Philip E. Barnes

Abstract

As a result of the wide array of educational and other opportunities which are provided by colleges and universities, educational institutions are subject to extensive environmental regulations. Maintenance activities, laboratory research and continual growth all contribute to this burden. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a Colleges and Universities Initiative that promotes awareness through compliance assistance activities and comprehensive audits. This Initiative has been introduced throughout the United States in phases. In 2004 the Initiative reached South Carolina, resulting in outreach activities by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and as well as a plan for increased enforcement action by the EPA. The University of South Carolina (USC), like many other Region 4 schools, received a letter in 2007 which announced the next step in the Colleges and Universities Initiative. In this letter the EPA recommended that facilities self audit and use the EPA Audit and Self-Disclosure Policy in order to avoid being targeted for inspection. Receipt of this letter encouraged USC to evaluate their state of compliance at that time, and to subsequently enter into an audit agreement with the EPA.

This thesis focused on the evaluation of the compliance status of USC upon receipt of the letter, and the development and implementation of a comprehensive auditing plan which was designed to bring the University into compliance. Prior to this project, USC did not have an all-media environmental auditing program in place. The thesis research included preparation for an audit through extensive regulatory review and development of auditing checklists for all environmental media, followed by implementation through extensive auditing. All potential violations were tracked, corrected, and subsequently submitted as a self-disclosure report to the EPA. The result of this research is a greater awareness regarding needed auditing practices within colleges and universities as well as the development and implementation of effective auditing tools into college and university operations.

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